Chair’s August Briefing: Not out of the woods yet

In the second of his new monthly briefings, NACFB Chair, Paul Goodman, reflects on the efforts of the trade body over the last few weeks, from the Association’s continued membership growth to a new online offering.

People buy from people. As experienced finance intermediaries, we have long-since known this. The NACFB membership has cultivated a UK-wide network of SME clients that recognise the value of face-to-face, meaningful, relationship-based trading practices.

But it is not the individual alone that these businesses value: their experience, knowledge, and insight are held in equally high esteem. The NACFB’s growing membership embodies these values and I am proud to say that, for the first time in the Association’s history, there are now over 2,000 such individuals collectively Moving Britain Forward.

As of August, the Association works with the direct support of 1,104 commercial finance firms – a 9% increase on this time last year. The total number of Registered Individuals (RIs) has also passed the 2,000 milestone – all operating under the NACFB logo. This 11% increase is an all-time high.

The news comes as the Association’s four-month fee moratorium comes to an end. In total, the freeze on membership fees for existing Members has saved each firm a minimum of £240 throughout the lockdown period. There are more of us than ever before providing a service that has never been as needed as much as it is now.

Stepping into the future

Whilst £52 billion of state-backed loans have been allocated, NACFB Members must now equip themselves for the future. A future that will entail rounds of refinancing on a hitherto unforeseen scale. To help better prepare Members and Patrons for the challenge, you should by now be aware that the NACFB has enhanced its online offering via nacfb.org. If you have not already logged into your new account and updated your profile, I would strongly encourage you to do so. The new site features directories of both Members and Patrons and it is essential that these are as accurate as they can be.

The new site also features a brand-new learning management platform, which contains a vast array of free training modules to enrich your industry knowledge. More benefits will be added to the site in the coming months as the Association looks to utilise technological advances to enhance the life cycle of a deal, seeking to complement – not replace – the vital role of the broker.

Shaping our industry

The NACFB continues to raise awareness of the impending difficulties that await many non-bank lenders (NBLs). The forbearance hit to NBL balance sheets, coupled with a lack of forbearance from funding lines, means many will simply not have the liquidity to lend. It is in all our interests to maintain a dynamic lending environment, ensuring there is a wide variety of alternative funders to approach.

There are two further areas where we are pushing for material change, namely within the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) space and the motor finance sector. We are partnering with equivalent trade bodies from across the professional services sector to address increased PII premiums. We have also written to the FCA to highlight some unforeseen consequences following their decision to ban discretionary commission models in the motor finance arena. We believe that the steps being implemented do not address the control measures motor dealers have over consumer choice and will inevitably remove their competition, leading to the considerable detriment of the consumer.   

Adding tangible value

Finally, the cover feature of the summer edition of NACFB’s magazine, Commercial Broker, further reiterates the value of the human experience. As the football season finally came to an end, Norman Chambers reflects on the failure of Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) and how lessons from it can be analogous to the commercial lending community.

Our vision for the NACFB remains the same, we are at the forefront of critical business funding. Whilst debate around a second coronavirus wave rumbles on, we can guarantee there will be a second wave of refinancing in the near future. It will be our responsibility to proudly display the values that come with NACFB membership, to demonstrate our unique insight, and to walk alongside our clients at every step.

Wishing you and your colleagues the very best.

Paul Goodman​

NACFB Chair

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